Home Buyer FAQs

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10 Steps to Owning Your Own Home

  1. Mortgage Options: Experienced mortgage companies can work with you one-on-one to determine exactly what you can qualify for based on your personal information. Applicants with high credit ratings, higher income and savings usually are offered the best mortgage rates.
  2. Terms & Fees: An annual percentage rate (APR) includes the actual interest rate on the loan, as well as certain fees and costs associated with the loan.
  3. Get Qualified: Even before the house hunting begins, home buyers need to determine how much they can afford and how much a lender will loan. Sellers often don’t take an offer seriously unless the prospective first-time buyer has some assurance of creditworthiness from a mortgage company. Shopping for a home with a pre-approved mortgage enables a customer to submit an offer on a home with confidence.
  4. Do Your Homework: Be sure to go online to check for listings, neighborhood information, current mortgage information and home ownership services. Understanding the marketplace and what kind of homes are available in your price range will help you know before you go.
  5. Home Buyer Checklist: Create a checklist of the important features you want in a home including location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms etc. Other important questions are: How far is the commute to work? Where are the shopping centers and parks. Are the nearby schools ranked well?
  6. Select an Agent You Like: An agent helps identify homes for sale in your price range. The broker or agent also helps with writing contracts, negotiating the asking price, and closing the purchase. Find someone who listens to you and understands your needs.
  7. The Offer: Once you find the right house, make an offer. Make sure that: 1) You’re able to obtain adequate financing. 2) You can pull out if the property doesn’t pass the home inspection or until the item is fixed. 3.) Be prepared for counter-offers and some negotiation with the seller. At this point a deposit is made which goes toward the sales price. Set a time limit with your agent that the offer you’ve made is good for three days. If an offer is accepted, it goes to the contract phase.
  8. Inspection: Making an offer contingent on an inspection by a registered home inspector can save thousands of dollars by avoiding unseen problems. Inspectors will check the house for any structural damage. In the contract with the seller, it should state any necessary repairs that must be made before closing on the house. Prior to closing, walk through the house and check that such repairs have been completed.
  9. Homeowners Insurance: Lenders require homeowners insurance to protect the new home buyer’s interests as well as their own. There are many providers so shop around for the best rates.
  10. Closing: The seller and buyer sign settlement-closing papers at this point. This is to transfer the ownership of the home and all transactions are finalized. Congrats…you are a homeowner!